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Old 07-02-08, 01:35 PM   #1
the_ill_postino
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Any Walter Croll experts? (pics of 650B Croll conversion included)

Hi all,

First of all I've been meaning to share pics of this bike because it seems sort of unique and, IMHO, it's pretty.


[click for larger view]

Second, because I'm a starving student I tried selling the bike and everyone I showed it to naturally wanted more detail about Croll than I could give. I bought the frame and fork NOS on ebay on a whim and don't really know its history. I'm now tempted to just keep it if I can swing it, but after searching for info I'm amazed at how little is out there, and I figure someone (maybe from MN?) might have some first hand knowledge.

From other posts I know Croll was a Minneapolis frame builder who may have sold the company at some point. The frame is lugged Reynolds 531 with a deep shimmering green paint; it has suntour superbe pro fork ends and breezer dropouts. It's hard for me to imagine that a bike this lovely came after the reported sale of the company, but I don't know how to date it.

Thanks in advance for any help! (More pics and details below)

- - - - -

For those curious about the build, here are the specs. This bike was more of a race frame with narrow clearance that I've set up as an obviously Rivendell-inspired 650b randonneur.


* Wheelset: Shimano dynohub front / tiagra back hubs with Velocity Synergy 32h 650B rims.

* Panaracer Rivendell Nifty Swifty 650B x 32.8mm tires with Kevlar belt. Tire clearance for 700c wheels would have been around 700x28 I think, but as a 650B it will fit up to Panaracer's 650Bx38 Col de La Vies.

* Generator hub powers a Shimano LP-R600 Headlight.

* Crankset is the "old logo" Sugino 170mm XD600 48/36/26. Pedals are Rivendell / MKS "sneaker pedal"

* SRAM 8-spd Cassette 11-30

* KMC X8 Chain

* Brooks B-17 honey

* Nitto Technomic 60mm quill

* Nitto noodle 44cm with shellacked natural cork tape and hemp twine

* Tektro RL720 Cross Levers

* Tektro R200A Ergo Brake Levers Black/Silver

* Tektro R556 Long Reach Road Calipers Silver 55-73mm

* Stronglight A9 headset

* Vintage suntour barcons








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Old 07-02-08, 05:10 PM   #2
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I don't know anything about the guy who built the frame but I do know you did a fanstastic job outfitting it! Love the build........I'll bet it's a dream to ride.
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Old 07-02-08, 05:38 PM   #3
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That is a beautiful bike. And I'm afraid I don't know a thing about the builder.

Neal
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Old 07-02-08, 06:07 PM   #4
Sigurdd50
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sheesh! Beauty!
I have been in the process (for like a year!) trying to find a suitable (but practically priced) steel frame for a 650B conversion. If I lived in Chi, I might have been tempted by that bike (I Live in Madison). I recall your price, which is probably worth it... was a little too 'rich' for me at this point in time.
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Old 07-02-08, 06:19 PM   #5
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Nice bike! I only know a tiny bit about Croll - most of which you already know. Walter Croll made very nicely finished lugged bicycles. Sometime in the late 90s the company (or at least the name) was sold and quality went downhill - I've seen one welded frame, for example. Yours looks like an earlier example (given the 531 tubing). I'm sure it rides beautifully.
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Old 07-02-08, 07:57 PM   #6
the_ill_postino
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Thanks all -- glad you like the bike!

Stripes -- from the pictures of Crolls I've seen there does seem to be a sharp difference between a few lugged road, track, and touring frames that seem to scream hand-crafted quality, and some perfectly fine but less impressive tig welded mountain bikes. I've assumed these latter were the post-sale bikes, but I haven't seen any definitive accounts of the brand's history. Maybe I'll post in Minnesota craigslist at some point and see if I can stir up anyone with first-hand memory of the Croll heyday.
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Old 03-02-11, 09:25 PM   #7
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Walter Croll

I know walter croll. great man. great engineer. worked with him for a while where he was an engineer. he left the industry started teaching guitar lessons (an amazing guitarist as well).
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